The Map of Meaning has been adapted to provide a more holistic and systemic perspective on demonstrating and assessing the Social Impact of programs.
An example of this is Gianni Zappalà’s work using Meaningful Evaluation (ME), which he defines as an approach to understanding social impact that uncovers the extent to which participants in any given program experience its activities and outcomes as ‘meaningful’ in terms of personal growth, connection, reciprocity, and creativity.
ME acknowledges the importance of focusing on the subjective experience of participants, enables the identification and assessment of the sustainability of any outcomes, captures the inner process of change and any unintended consequences from participation in a program.
ME has been used by Gianni and colleagues at the University of Technology Sydney to complement existing evaluation frameworks and demonstrate the social impact of:
- The Primary Ethics program in NSW: the extent to which volunteer ethics teachers experience their participation in the program as meaningful
- The SOUL (Social Outcomes through University Leadership) program at UTS: the extent to which UTS students participating in Service Learning experienced their participation as meaningful
- The NSW Government Carer Investment Program (CIP): examined how carer’s lives were changed by engaging with the CIP projects,